And now we present to you what may prove to be the final document of The Good Old Days in college athletics. (At least, until the next round of TV negotiations hits in a couple years.)
According to tax documents obtained by USA Today, the Power 5 conferences raked in a collective $2.9 billion in the 2018-19 academic year, the most recent on record. We know at least the next two fiscal years will be affected by the ongoing pandemic; the 2019-20 year will show the loss of March Madness, and God only knows how many opportunities will be lost in 2020-21 and beyond.
Here’s how the scoreboard looks in terms of total dollars accrued:
1. Big Ten — $781.5 million
2. SEC — $720.6 million
3. Pac-12 — $530.4 million
4. ACC — $455.4 million
5. Big 12 — $439 million
And, more importantly, on a per school basis:
1. Big Ten — $55.6 million
2. SEC — $45.3 million
3. Big 12 — $40 million
4. Pac-12 — $32.2 million
5. ACC — $31 million
Now, caveats abound here.
— The Big Ten is, still, not awarding full shares to Maryland and Rutgers. They joined the conference in 2014.
— The SEC did not award a full share to Ole Miss, who was serving a postseason ban.
— The Big 12’s figure, which fluctuated on a per-school basis from $38.2 to $42 million, does not include third-tier rights such as the Longhorn Network.
— The ACC’s per-school distribution fluctuated from $27.6 million to $34 million. It also does not include the ACC Network, which launched Aug. 22, 2019. It is now in an estimated 70 million homes.
— All this explains why the Pac-12 is freaking out.
And while we’re on the subject, here is how much each conference paid its commissioner in 2018-19, according to tax documents obtained by USA Today:
1. Jim Delany, Big Ten: $10.3 million
2. Larry Scott, Pac-12: $5.4 million
3. Bob Bowlsby, Big 12: $4 million
4. John Swofford, ACC: $3.8 million
5. Greg Sankey, SEC: $2.6 million
Delany’s salary reflects the first part of a $20 million retirement-kiss bonus, paid out over multiple years by the conference. Scott is paid for running the Pac-12 Conference and the Pac-12 Networks; he also has an outstanding $1.9 million loan from the conference.